Croatia Airlines has posted improved results for the first half of the year after increasing its passenger numbers and reducing losses. The carrier handled 822.260 travellers on board its aircraft during the first six months of the year, an increase of 2.5% compared to the same period in 2015. Of those, 212.881 passengers were carried on domestic flights, up 3.4%, while 593.422 travellers flew on international services, an improvement of 3.3%. The remaining 15.957 passengers were carried on charter flights, down 27.5% year-on-year. However, charters accounted for only 2% of overall traffic. The airline operated 12.388 flights during the first two quarters, an increase of 0.7% compared to the same period last year. The average cabin load factor stood at 65.5%, up 1.2% on 2015. Loads improved on international flights by 1.3% for an average of 65.4%, while on domestic services they were up 1.5% to 63.6%.
Croatia Airlines handled its millionth traveller of the year on July 15, twelve days ahead of 2015. "This year's passenger record comes as a result of positive trends in our business, as well as the growth of our destination network. In June we launched flights from Zagreb to Lisbon, Milan, Prague and St. Petersburg, which we did not serve beforehand", the airline's CEO, Krešimir Kučko, said. He added, "By the end of the year, we expect to see our passenger numbers grow 6%". During the first half of the year, Croatia Airlines improved its ticket sales by 1%, with bookings at similar levels to 2015 outside of Croatia and up 5% in its home market. At the same time, foreign carriers saw sales decline 5%.
On the financial front, the Croatian carrier’s consolidated net loss was reduced by 13.3% to 11.3 million euros, down on last year’s 13.0 million euros, but still above 2014s 4.9 million euro loss. Croatia Airlines' revenue grew 0.1% to 84.5 million euros. The airline said revenue growth slowed as a result of reduced fares in the face of strong seasonal competition on the Croatian market. On the other hand, proceeds from cargo handling fell 12%. The airline reduced its expenditure by 2% to that of last year. It spent most on flight operations, passenger services, maintenance and promotions and sales. At the end of H1, Croatia Airlines had 971 employees, which is up from 950 last year. The carrier took on more staff in its ground handling division as it begins preparing to shift its operations to Zagreb Airport's new passenger terminal. Furthermore, the airline says it hired additional cabin crew.